Some thoughts on Sitecore CMS

small business technologyOne of the projects I’ve been working on over the last few months is the implementation and customization of a Content Management System (CMS). The CMS chosen by my client is Sitecore CMS, which is garnering some attention for its somewhat unique approach to the world of CMS and was recently named a “Cool Vendor” by Gartner.

For a review of Web Content Management Systems, see Ziff-Davis’ CMS Review on Amazon titled “Web Content Management Systems Product Comparison Guide” (affiliate link).

Sitecore’s product is pretty interesting. It’s a .NET based product that gives you the ability to (er…forces you to) create everything from the ground up for your website. Everything is customizable…layouts, templates, everything. The product is delivered as a .NET ‘solution’…in other words, you can open the ‘site’ in Visual Studio and customize to your hearts content.

Personally, I like this approach because it provides a great deal of flexibility and provides developers with a way to easily ‘hook’ into a Sitecore website and customize it…..but it isn’t the right solution for every problem. If you are looking for a CMS, or just interested in CMS platforms, you should look into Sitecore. If you are looking to buy, expect to pay more than some CMS platforms and less than others :)

Here’s a quick Hit List that you can use to determine if Sitecore is right for your organization:

Sitecore is a good option if:

  • You have a good sized website and/or many websites to host.
  • You are a Microsoft shop with SQL Server, Windows Servers, etc.
  • You have a development staff who are fluent with .NET (C#, ASP.NET) or are OK with paying an outside firm for this work & expertise.
  • You are willing to invest in a long-term approach to migrating all your websites and web apps into a .NET environment (this gives you your biggest ROI in my opinion).
  • You are OK with looking at a payback period of over 1 year. My personal opinion is Sitecore is at about 18 to 24 months or longer depending on what you spend to implement and what customization you have done.

Sitecore is probably not the best option if:

  • You can’t spend much money
  • Your payback period is less than a year
  • You have no development staff with .NET experience nor do you want to pay for outside development
  • You aren’t a Microsoft shop
  • You have a few sites and don’t need .NET integration

For the developers out there…if you’re interested in jumping on a bandwagon and learning a new product, there is a tremendous need for sitecore developers in the marketplace. I’m contacted ~3 to 4 times a week for resources. You can download an ‘express‘ version from Sitecore for free (not to be used as a commercial site) and join their Developer network to jump in and start learning.

Sitecore is a good product and provides a very good ‘skeleton’ for a CMS but might not be the best selection for anyone looking for a quick turn CMS and/or quick payback.

Comments

  1. Josh McKerney says:

    Hi, great article. Thanks.
    I think it would be grate to compare Sitecore with other .NET CMS systems like Kentico, Sitefinity or Ektron.

  2. Hi Josh – thanks for the comment.

    I’ll look into the other products you’ve mentioned…I have some experience with Ektron and Sitefinity but not recent experience but I know quite a few people who work with both on a regular basis.

    Perhaps I’ll get together with them to put together a quick review and comparison.

  3. Josh McKerney says:

    I have a web development agency with my friend and we are considering these CMS as our main platform: Ektron, Kentico, Sitecore and Sitefinity.

    I think Ektron and Kentico are more flexible, robust and have more useful features than Sitecore and Sitefinity.

    Ektron is too much expensive (in comparsion with Kentico, Sitecoer and Sitefinity) for us so I think we will choose Kentico but I think it would be useful if we get another opinion ;-)

  4. Josh – Have you looked at Umbraco (http://www.umbraco.org/)? It is purportedly a very close cousin of Sitecore but is Open Source. Might be worth checking into.

    I’ll ask around if anyone has any experience with Kentico or Sitefinity and let you know.

  5. Josh McKerney says:

    Not deeply. I think Umbraco has very poor funtionality…

  6. Chris McNamarra says:

    I personally haven’t used Kentico, but I have used Sitecore and Ektron. Thus I am wondering how you can state that Ektron is more flexible? There is not a single thing you can’t do in Sitecore, as its API is completely open and everything is build around extensibility. Ektron limits you in scalability, security, workflows and more, apart from being more expensive.

    For me Sitecore is the product of choice, probably 2-3 years ahead of its competition. But as Eric said, go and download the Express version to see for yourself.

  7. Sure, Umbraco can’t match platforms like Sitecore and Ektron in functionality. However, compared to for instance EPiServer, Umbraco is competitive in functionality. If you’re about to build a website with moderate requirements, Umbraco is not only sufficient in features for this type of task, but also has no licence fees. But for intranets, which usually come with budgets attached, Umbraco is seldom a suitable choice.

  8. Hi there!

    I am currently putting together an ROI on the Ektron CMS to use for our public facing site. I was wondering if anyone had any references to this?

    Thank you,
    Beth Williams,PMP

  9. Hi Eric,

    I need some information regarding Sitecore CMS. I am a .Net consultant and my client is planning to go with Sitecore CMS. I don't have any experience with any of the CMS tools. As advised, in your previous comments, I have installed Sitecore exress and I am trying to learn. I am looking out for some basic documents on how to develop a website using Sitecore. Since the timeframe is very short, I would appreciate if you could suggest some good documents or any step by step guide to develop a basic website.

    Thank You

    Pradeep

    rpradeepkr2000@hotmail.com

    Pradeep's Recent post…null

  10. Hi Pradeep,

    The best guides for using Sitecore are found on the sitecore developer network website (http://sdn.sitecore.net). There are many guides, tutorials and walk-throughs there that should be able to help you out.

  11. Gary Eisenstein says:

    We (http://www.falcon-software.com)specialize in deploying eBusiness solutions using web content management software for Sitecore, Kentico, Sitefinity and Ektron. My experience is that Sitecore is a great option for clients with high-end budgets and a very solid product to develop with. Kentico and Sitefinity are great options for low budget .net CMS solutions and Kentico has great customer support. Sitefinity and Kentico are real easy to work with as a developer and offer very similar features and both are solidly built. Ektron is more of a multipurpose (ginsu knife) of the four CMS vendors and has great taxonomy, but tends to be buggy.

  12. Pradeep – you might also find our whitepapers on Sitecore best practices helpful:
    * Best Practices for Sitecore CMS
    * Sitecore: Scalability & performance tips for an optimal online experience
    Both are available at http://www.nonlinearcreations.com/whitepaper. Best of luck.

  13. As far as I can tell Ektron only has complex surveys where Kentico doesn’t however; Kentico has HTML emailing, booking/events and newsletters where Ektron does not. Does anyone know what Ektron offer over Kentico to justify a 50 thousand (minimum) price difference?

  14. I have a Sitecore CMS Web Developer postion . (the consultant can workd either from Westwood, Massachusetts or San Francisco, California.) a 1 year plus project. buzz me at (732) 562-0200 ext 277 or email gjoseph(at)millenniumci(dot)com

  15. Verndale says:

    Just stumbled upon your blog. Great post! Our digital agency uses a CMS comparison and selection process called Quickstep which helps our clients determine the right CMS for their business requirements. This could be helpful for some who are trying to decide if Sitecore is right for them.
    http://bit.ly/9Xdx8V

  16. Randy – thanks for the links…great stuff!

  17. Thanks Randy & Eric.

  18. Andrew – Thanks for stopping by.

    It's always good to see someone like yourself interacting with the community. Ektron seems to be a great product…in fact I know of a recent instance where an organization chose Ektron over Sitecore so it seems the two platforms are very close competitors.

    Feel free to stop by often.

    And about the sitecore engineer…don't need to see one on the blog…talk to one every day at work xD

Trackbacks

  1. [...] up on 2 years of working with Sitecore, a .NET Content Management System (see my post titled “Some Thoughts on Sitecore CMS” for previous thoughts on the subject).  These two years have been interesting, challenging [...]

  2. Reading "Some thoughts on Sitecore CMS" Eric D. Brown @ericdbrown http://bit.ly/15G5Wj (it's an old article…in 2008)

  3. [...] out there willing to offer assistance.  Take a commercial content management product like  Sitecore for example. Sitecore has a fairly large community of developers on the Sitecore Developer Network [...]

  4. Verndale says:

    Some thoughts on @SitecoreCMS by @EricDBrown | http://ow.ly/6cGet | #sitecore #cms

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